Bus Driver

Bus Driver

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Outside of slapping up drywall or working at a cannery, it's hard to think of a duller idea for a blue-collar sim than making players drive a bus. And yet that's the strange appeal of Bus Driver. Piloting one of half a dozen different buses—from a school bus to a prison transport to a red double-decker—you have to complete your assigned routes, and you have to do it correctly. Forget to signal or stay in your lane, and you lose points; glide gracefully into the stops and stick to your schedule, and you score. The environment is full of convincing details, like snow-slicked roads or autumnal leaves, and the slow routine is soothing.

Unfortunately, the developers cut corners on what was already a thin concept. You drive the bus by clicking the arrow keys, which makes steering jerky and unsatisfying, though you can use a third-party steering wheel. You'll quickly run out of routes, and Bus Driver has no long-haul or customization options. And it only comes with one view—third-person, from behind the bus—so the hardcore bus enthusiasts who were dreaming of a dashboard view will be sorely disappointed.

Beyond the game: Much like Doom, the game has a weird way of getting into your head. Try playing it for an hour, then rush out to your car and try to make some tight turns.

Worth playing for: If you crash or simply slam the brakes too hard, your passengers give you a horrified scream.

Frustration sets in when: For some reason, you get a red light at every single intersection—and the green only lasts a few seconds.

Final judgment: Sadly fails to fill the role of "greatest possible game about driving a bus."